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Hi guys, I hope you’re all safe and taking care of each-other during this difficult time.
May we pull through this, together and come out stronger for it.
Today, I’m reviewing my first thriller novel of 2020.
After Anna, by Alex Lake
I’m fairly new to the thriller genre, in the sense that the only major thrillers I’ve read are the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris. However, I’m happy to now be reading and reviewing more thrillers as they are a favourite genre of mine. So today, please join me in fawning over After Anna, by Alex Lake.
When Julia’s five year old daughter Anna goes missing, her life begins to crumble down all around her. She was hoping to divorce her husband, no longer feeling much for him, however this declaration of falling out of love only makes things worse.
As Julia awaits news of her daughter, she has zero emotional support to see her through such a difficult time. Add in the press who are claiming she’s a negligent mother and a mother in law that’s always hated her and you have one tense, conflict-filled nightmare of a wait. When Anna is found, safe and sound, things only begin to spin further out of control.
The story is told from two main point of views: Julia’s, and that of the mysterious kidnapper.
Julia is a smart and ambitious young mother and divorce lawyer. She is caring, though given to worrying, as you’d expect from any mother missing her young child. Her tenacity to see things through was admirable and made for a likable protagonist.
The kidnapper’s point of view is expressed through the second person, referring to themselves as ‘you.’ This had me unfortunately imagining that I was the kidnapper and presented me with a disturbed viewpoint of why they kidnapped and subsequently returned Julia’s young daughter.
Brian, Julia’s soon to be ex-husband is a childish and metaphorically-blind character. A typical
wealthy mummy’s-boy type, he only serves to make Julia feel worse when she’s already terrified for her daughter. Although a good father, he appears incapable of making decisions for himself without eventually bowing to the wishes of his aging mother.
Edna. Now, there’s a lot to say about her character. Firstly, I could not stand her, and for good reason. Edna is your run of the mill high society, manipulative shrew of a mother in law. Nothing is ever good enough for her and Julia is certainly not deemed good enough for her precious son. I personally wanted to slap Edna’s character on more than one occasion as she even managed to get under my skin as a reader.
Likes and Dislikes
I loved how well the author built up the tension in this book. The background detail included felt necessary in order to understand the broader story, but did not serve as ‘padding,’ which I was thankful for.
The emotional impact of each scene really got to me, as if I were Julia, experiencing the ups and downs of such a tumultuous journey. I thought the plot was well executed, with a great deal of suspense and masterful writing.
The one dislike I had is that I figured out who the kidnapper was almost immediately. However, this did not detract from my overall reading experience as their reasons for such actions were fascinating to dive into. I found myself glued to the pages until I finished.
This time, I found it relatively easy to pick out some good quotes.
1) ‘We spend so much time worrying about the little things, when they don’t matter.
And we let the things that do matter slip.’
This seems to be a modern phenomena: we fixate on trivial things like who has said what about who, thins that don’t concern us in the least. When it comes to dealing with our own problems or valuing what is important, it seems the world is having some sort of crisis. However, this could just be my point of view and others may see things differently.
2) ‘She was of a certain type, this woman: the type of people who were angry and bitter and wanted to make other people as unhappy as them, but who were just smart enough to understand they could not just go around abusing people, and so they found cover for their wish to abuse people in self-righteous anger.’
I found this second quote to be especially relatable, particularly when we see so much unneeded abuse over social media nowadays. Everyone seems just as miserable, having to drag others down
to their level. These types of people baffle me: if someone is that miserable, maybe they should seek help? Who knows what’s going on with people nowadays.
After Anna, by Alex Lake made for a truly gripping thriller. Although I figured out who the culprit was quite quickly, their mindset and reasons for acting as they did proved intriguing enough to carry me through the rest of the story.
I would recommend After Anna to all lovers of crime thrillers, especially those that focus on a mother’s worry for her children.
My rating: 5 stars.
Thank you for joining me for today’s view.
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Until next time, I hope you have a safe week,